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Annie 10.5.11

Annie 10.5.11

Posted: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 8:01 pm

Dear Annie: I would like to know the proper way to dispose of pain medications when a loved one passes away.
Quite recently, my sister’s friend’s husband died from cancer. Two days later, my sister and her friend were trying to sell his unused Oxycontin and morphine. I find this appalling.
I have read that it is not wise to flush the meds down the toilet because it affects our drinking water. So, please tell us the proper way of disposal. — Confused in My State
Dear Confused: How nice that your sister wants to be a drug pusher.
Studies have found traces of painkillers, estrogen, antidepressants, blood-pressure medicines and other pharmaceuticals in water samples. The medications you cite are classified as controlled substances and cannot be legally donated or dispensed. Unless the labeling specifically says to flush them, the DEA does not recommend sending any medications down the toilet. Instead, it encourages bringing unwanted medications to community take-back collections.
Readers can check with their pharmacy for drug recycling or community take-back programs. If there are no such programs near you, contact your state and local waste management authorities. Unused medications can also be ground up or dissolved in a small amount of water or alcohol, and mixed with coffee grounds or kitty litter, and then put in a small sealable plastic bag and hidden in the trash.
Please help your sister get rid of these medications properly before she gets arrested.
Dear Annie: I am a doctor working in a medium-sized medical practice. It was a great place to work until we hired “Dr. Judy,” an aggressive physician who tried to get others fired. When her chances of becoming a partner disappeared, she abruptly left, taking a lot of staff with her. She set up shop a few miles away and is actively recruiting our clients.
One of the other doctors on our staff went on disability and instead of returning to us, went to work for Dr. Judy, saying the hours were shorter and there would be less stress. This same doctor is getting married next month. The owner of our practice was extremely disappointed that she left us and decided not to attend the wedding. However, I have remained good friends with her.
Should I attend her wedding, possibly offending my colleague whom I respect a great deal? Or should I politely decline and send a gift? — Not Sure What To Do
Dear Not Sure: Your colleague has not given you any ultimatums and isn’t likely to do anything to antagonize those physicians who are still loyal to the practice. You are entitled to have a life outside of the office. If you want to attend the wedding, by all means go.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Lonesome,” the 65-year-old single woman who complained that she didn’t have any friends to shop or have lunch with. I was doing OK with that letter until she said, “Senior groups are 10 years too old for me.” It’s no wonder she has no friends.
I’m 60. One of my best friends died last year at the age of 87. I knew her for four years and was lucky to know her. It did not matter how old she was. She had a great sense of humor and was full of life. Every precious minute I spent with her was a gift. Maybe “Lonesome” should rethink what it means to be a friend. — Honored To Have Known Her
Dear Honored: We completely agree that age should not be a factor in choosing one’s friends. Whether older or younger, one can find shared interests and true camaraderie.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

Published in The Messenger 10.05.11

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